Balochistan: Poverty Bomb

Naseebullah Khan

Balochistan the poorest province of the country has been witnessing a huge gap in income inequality between rich and poor. As per a report of the IPRI, the average income is 27041 while the richest 20 percent quintile earns 2.5 times more than the poorest segment which is almost the same earning as that of Punjab’s richest earn. In the province, the richest quantile,s enjoys human development index equal to Bhutan while the poorest quintile has an HDI of human development equal to Niger. The richest 20 percent is 1.8 percent greater than that of the poor.
A myriad of factors can be held responsible for this sorry state of affairs of poverty such as the closure of borders with Iran and Afghanistan, climate change and global warming that affected the livestock, agriculture, and water sector of the province, bad governance on the part of both provincial and federal governments, the inadequate share of the province in its resources, dearth of equitable development, and paucity of long and short term economic policies.
Whether we talk about marginalization, a vast area of the province, or the contribution of provincial resources to the federal economy, the province has not gotten its due share. Importantly, after the 18th amendment, article 172(3) envisages equal partnership of province and federal government in provincial minerals, Gas, Oil, etc. For instance, around 71 percent of people in the province are under multidimensional poverty which is equal to 10 to 11 percent of the country’s total poor population. Utility stores are available in only 7 districts. Whereas in Ehsas program of 2020__21 total funds allocation were 134 billion in Pakistan but only 5.8 billion rupees were provided in Balochistan which was 4.35 percent of the total amount. This is just the tip of the Iceberg. In such circumstances, the poor will be poorer.
On the flip side, the responsibilities and negligence of different provincial governments cannot be set aside. Corruption, nepotism, unequal development, bad governance, and the dearth of holistic planning have brought the dwellers. on the verge of devastation. They have failed to prepare policies of economic development of the people, industrial development, and encountering the dragon of global warming that has deteriorated the jugular vein of peoples income (Livestock and agriculture).
Investing in human capital, industrial development, creating equal development opportunities, bridging global warming, focusing on livestock and agriculture, assuring good governance, and providing due share to Balochistan can diminish poverty and heal the province. Sanity must prevail. If not, alienation will further erupt the lava that will sweet the richest class along with the policymakers.

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